Twitter clients throughout the years

I know I am a nerd, but when I got access to my full Twitter archive (details here) I found it fascinating to look back at the Twitter clients I have gone through over the years. So naturally, I had to visualise this and add some annotations.

Caution: Nerd Alert.

Twitter clients throughout the years

PS. I chose not to go back and calculate the cost of changing Twitter clients so often, nor the total amount I’ve spent. Moving right along …

TakeFive with TweetReach interview

[Originally published on the TweetReach blog]

Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community. This week we’re thrilled to welcome Michele Kiss Hinojosa, a self-confessed analytics geek and Director of Digital Analytics at Red Door Interactive.

TweetReach: Welcome Michele! Let’s start with talking about how you got started with social analytics. What got you interested in measuring social?

Michele: I first got into digital measurement through web and advertising analytics at Kelley Blue Book. As I started expanding my horizons and wanting to learn more about the digital analytics industry, I started joining in conversations in social media — the Yahoo Web Analytics group, Linked In, Quora, but especially Twitter. For me, social analytics started mostly as a curiosity, just playing around with different solutions and analysing social traffic to my little blog, or analysing the social media behaviour of the online web analytics community through the #measurehashtag.

Now, at Red Door Interactive, my team of Digital Analysts and I get to help clients understand the impact of conversations they’re having with customers, including on the website, in social media or through a variety of acquisition channels.

TweetReach: What metrics are most important for your job and your company? What should we be measuring? Beyond that, is there anything we shouldn’t be measuring? Are there any “bad” metrics?

Michele: I don’t think there are “bad” metrics per se, just less useful ones. There is an evolution as companies grow from a simple like/follower approach to looking more at business impact. This isn’t really surprising, given a lot of companies also embark on social “because we should”, but without strategy or goals for doing so. Ideally, companies should embark on social initiatives with clear goals (e.g., decrease call center volume, drive sales, drive traffic to the website, save on other marketing budgets, etc) and understand what, in a perfect world, you would want to measure. From there, figure out if you can. Do you have the right toolsets? The necessary data integration? If not, come up with something that gets you close, or gives you directional insight while you build out the rest. I’m not saying wait until everything is perfect before you do anything, but make sure you know where you want to get before you start working towards it.

TweetReach: What are your recommendations for someone just getting started with social analytics? What should they do first? What are some important considerations?

Michele: For an analyst thinking about diving into social media, they need to first get involved in social media themselves. I don’t think you can measure what you don’t understand, and getting involved in a variety of social channels is key to understanding them. (And no, just having a Facebook account doesn’t count.) Each channel is different and the goals of being involved are different. I try new social channels all the time. They may prove to not be “my kind of thing” (and no one can possibly keep up with all of them and hold down a job, too!) but at least play around and see what they offer, how the channels differ and how they might be used for different goals or different businesses.

There are key books I would recommend reading – John Lovett’s “Social Media Metrics Secrets”, Jim Sterne’s “Social Media Metrics” and Olivier Blanchard’s “Social Media ROI” (and converse with these guys on Twitter! They are great guys and are always up for a good conversation.) Not to mention a myriad of blogs out there.

From there, start doing it, even if you just start by analysing your own accounts. Better yet, find a local business or non-profit to help (so you can attempt to tie to actual business metrics.) You’ll learn more from doing (and, let’s be honest, making mistakes) than you ever will from a book.

But it’s important to keep in mind social media is just one marketing channel. It’s great to have an interest in social analytics, but like other areas, it needs to be kept in context of the overall business and marketing efforts.

TweetReach: Let’s talk about consistency in measurement. There are a tremendous number of tools and approaches used to measure social media performance, which can produce results that are difficult to compare. Do you see the industry evolving towards a more standardized set of metrics or do you think we’ll continue to see a lot of variety and experimentation?

Michele: I’m going to give the very on-the-fence answer: Both. While social analytics often starts as just “likes” and “followers” for companies, pretty soon executives (and hopefully, good analysts!) are trying to tie this to actual business value, and look at social media in the context of other marketing initiatives. Profit or revenue driven are standardised and can apply across all channels, including social. However, let’s be honest: sometimes that’s hard to measure! It involves tying together different data sources, understanding attribution, and trying to measure what may sometimes be unmeasurable. (Do I know that you bought my product after you saw your best friend’s Facebook post raving about it? Maybe not.) But while the answers won’t be perfect, companies have to try to get as close as they can.

On the other hand, new social channels crop up every day, and while these too need to be tied to profit, they’ll also have their own in-network metrics that marketers and analysts will keep track of, and use to understand behaviour. (After all, somewhere there’s a 12-year-old in his garage creating something that will blow Zuckerberg off the map.)

Ultimately, social needs to be tied to business objectives like any other initiative, but the methods we use to do this will get more sophisticated, and I think there’s a lot more experimentation still to come.

TweetReach: We’re hearing a lot about influence right now; everyone wants to measure influence and target influencers. What are your thoughts on measuring influence in social media? What’s the best way to determine who is influential for a particular campaign or initiative?

Michele: Influence is a great example of where social analytics has room to grow. What businesses care about is who influences sales (or leads, or referrals, or whatever your business objectives.) Social tools are measuring “influence” on retweets, or Facebook likes, or video views. I can understand why businesses want to understand who their influencers are, but I think we need to keep in mind the limitations of a lot of current measures of influence — they’re likely not measuring influencers of the business metric they actually care about. That’s when it will be truly useful.

At the same time, I worry about the uses that current influence metrics are put to. I can see a use in using influence to prioritise, for example, response to requests. (For the same reason that food critics get the best cut of meat, those with online influence can have a big impact if they have a negative experience, and I can understand companies wanting to provide excellent service.) But I hope it’s not used as a metric of “you’re not worthy of my time.” Simply put, I can see using influence to determine who to respond to first, but not who to respond to at all.

I also worry about the use of influence in areas such as recruiting. I hope companies make their decisions off more than one number, and look at a candidate or potential consultant’s actual track record, results and skills.

I think these concerns just speak to the overall reality with a lot of social media metrics today — they can be useful in context, but as one standalone metric, we may sometimes attach too much significance, without enough consideration, analysis and scrutiny.

TweetReach: Thanks, Michele!

Getting into Twitter for Digital Analytics

[Originally published by IQ Workforce]

Perhaps you’ve been working in digital measurement for a few years, or maybe you’re new. You keep hearing about Twitter and wondering whether you should jump on the bandwagon. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Why should I join Twitter?

  1. To learn: Step outside the sandbox of your own company, your own analytics solution, and your own challenges. Your eyes will be opened and you’ll start thinking about the bigger picture, and bring your what you learn back to your organisation.
  2. To engage with others: It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet and build relationships with others in the industry. You can debate, discuss challenges, throw ideas around and form connections that may benefit you in the future.
  3. Get help and help others: The web analytics community on Twitter is an amazingly generous group of people. Take @usujason or @VABeachKevin, who respond to fellow analysts’ Omniture questions on a daily basis. Oh – did I mention neither of them even work for Omniture?! Having a problem with Google Analytics? Throw it out. Others may have tackled this already and can give great advice.

So how do you get started?

  1. Create a Twitter account. You can sign up at
  2. Advice for choosing a username:
    • Twitter can be a great opportunity to create your “personal brand.” Using your name, or something close to it, is a good idea. Using your name also helps when it comes time to meet people in person, as they’ll recognize your name from your twitter username.
    • Try to keep your username separate from your current place of employment. (E.g. @TomSmith instead of @TomAtCompanyX.) If you change companies in the future, it’s easier to not have to change your Twitter username. (Obviously though, if you are using Twitter on behalf of your company, this will be different.)
    • Keep it short. Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so the longer your username, the harder it is for people to retweet you. (I can’t really throw stones here, as my username is pretty long, but at least try to keep it on the shorter side.)
  1. Set your Twitter photo (because being a Twitter new user “egg” is totally uncool.) Try to pick one that will help others identify you, should they meet you in person. That means no blurry artsy photos, or pictures taken from a mile away. It can be helpful to keep a consistent photo across networks (e.g. Twitter and Linked In) and try not to change it too often. Remember, Twitter isn’t Facebook – people don’t know you personally, so changing your photo often will often mean they suddenly don’t recognize you.
  2. Create a bio: This will tell people a little about you so they can decide whether to follow you – so make it informative.

Now for some Twitter basics:

  • Retweet: Reposting another user’s tweet, either as-is or with your own comments, indicated by using “RT” or “via.” For example, a retweet with comment might look like this: “Great article! RT @useryouareretweeting: I like this article:”  Keep in mind that while a retweet isn’t technically an endorsement, but it can be construed as one, so add your commentary if you are retweeting something you don’t necessarily agree with.
  • Mention: A mention involves you referencing another Twitter user. Mentions can go back and forth as you have a conversation with someone on Twitter.
  • Hashtag: Twitter users will preface a term with a # symbol to allow easy searching for tweets on the same topic. For example, “@user: I love #knitting”

Next, you’ll want to find people to follow.

A good place to start is by finding the main hashtag used by a community. For web analytics, this is the #measure hashtag. Start reading the #measure hashtag, and follow users whose content you find interesting.

You may also want to look at the hashtags for vendors you use. #Omniture (or #OMTR) is a popular one for Adobe Omniture users, but you can also check out #webtrends, #coremetrics, etc. In fact, following the vendors themselves can often be a good place to get started – most typically have a corporate Twitter account and post industry news.

Do I have to follow someone if they follow me?

No! Twitter is not reciprocal like Facebook. Just because you follow someone doesn’t mean they have to follow you, and vice versa. This makes it easy – follow someone if you want to read what they have to say. Don’t follow them if you don’t. It’s really that simple.

Keep in mind, one of the benefits of a mutual follow is that you can send each other Direct Messages (DMs.) These are 140 character messages that are “private” between you and the person sending it. However, while these messages don’t show up in a Twitter stream, applications can access DMs, so to be safe, don’t include anything truly private in them.

Start posting

There are lots of Twitter users who just lurk (read but don’t post) but to get the most out of it, start posting. Throw in your viewpoint into a discussion (if they’re happening on Twitter, they’re not private, and no one will complain that you’re butting in!) or post links to interesting content you think others would enjoy.

You can also ask questions. You would be surprised who participates in the #measure discussion and is willing to take the time to answer. You can ask questions about the analytics tool you’re using (e.g. “How do I do XYZ in #Omniture?”) or even just a general “Has anyone seen any research on XYZ?” The #measure community is an amazingly generous community who really do help each other, so start asking – and answering others.

From to Clients to Apps

You can choose to use Twitter via the main site. However, many choose to use a Twitter client such as HootSuite or Tweetdeck to allow them to customize their layout. For example, you may want to be able to view your home feed (the tweets of everyone you follow) plus a list, plus a search, all side by side. Check out some of the different Twitter clients and see what strikes your fancy. You may even bounce back and forth between different clients.

There are also great apps for your smartphone or tablet. On the iPad or iPhone, my favorite is Echofon, but there is also the official Twitter app, HootSuite or Tweetdeck. On Android, I primarily use TweetCaster, but you have HootSuite, TweetDeck and many other options too. Play around with a few to see which works best for you. Most have a free version with ads. Once you find one you like, you can pay a few bucks for the premium version for ad-free tweeting.

Create lists

Once you start following users, you may choose to start creating Twitter lists. A list is a group of Twitter users that you group together. That way, you can read just content from your list, rather than from everyone you are following. For example, maybe you would have a “Web Analytics” list vs. “Social Media” vs “Email Marketing.”

I have a list called “Favs” – I follow a lot of people, but these are my “core people”, so if I’m busy and don’t have a chance to read what everyone I’m following is posting, at least I will keep up with my must-read folks. Feel free to check it out:!/michelehinojosa/favs

“But I don’t have time!”

We’re all busy, and in the case of web analysts, normally overloaded. After all, it’s hard to hire good people so most companies are strapped for resources.

My advice if you’re “too busy”:

  1. Start small. Just follow 5-20 key people. It’s not hard to keep up with a small number.
  2. Check in regularly, for short periods of time, to break it up. It’s easier to find five minutes at a few times than an hour block of time.
  3. Mark posted articles to read later, when you have more time.
  4. Use Twitter to actually help you do your job. If you’re struggling with something, seek out help from the community. (Make sure you are abiding by your company’s social media and non-disclosure policies, of course.)
  5. Smartphones can help, by turning time you’d be wasting in a doctor’s office or waiting for a friend into valuable catch-up-on-Twitter time.

So what are you waiting for?


Omniture Summit 2011 on Twitter (Day 1)

So, because I’m a huge nerd (and I assumed others might be too) I thought folks might enjoy some information on #omtrsummit (aka the Adobe Omniture Summit 2011) on Twitter.

Half way through the opening session today (I’d say around 9.30AM Utah time) I started a hashtag archive using Twapper Keeper.

Some completely fun but not very actionable findings:

Approximately 17% of Summit Attendees tweeted: 441 unique usernames tweeted at least once, compared to 2600 attendees. (Note: I’m sort of assuming that if you didn’t tweet in the first day, you’re not likely to throughout the rest of Summit, but I’ll gladly check those findings on Friday!)

Top 10 Tweeters, in order of volume of total tweets:


Total 10 Tweeters, excluding retweets/via:


Oh yeah – and 1.4% of tweets on Day 1 included a reference to Charlie Sheen.


Social Media Analytics: Moving From Engagement to Measurement

[Originally published at The Review]

It’s no mystery that social media has been the new buzzword of the past few years. However, companies are quickly moving from “Gee, we really should be doing social” to “Now, how do we measure it?” There are a number of ways a company can begin measuring their social media efforts and those include:

1. Measuring the effect of social media efforts within the network itself

2. Tracking social media links back to your website

3. Understanding social media in the context of other initiatives

Measuring within the network itself

Analysis of Impact and Engagement

Step one of measuring your social media initiatives is to measure success within the network. While there are a wide variety of social networks, we’ll focus on Facebook and Twitter as the primary two.

Measurement of Facebook might include monitoring number of fans, fan demographics, fan interaction with posted content (comments, likes), organic fan posts and traffic to Facebook page, or use of a Facebook app. Facebook analytics can come from Facebook Insights, but there are also options to add the code from your web analytics solution to your Facebook pages.

Twitter has its own set of tools. Two popular ones are Klout and Twitalyzer. Klout combines thirty-five different variables into one “Klout” score: a measure of social influence. While the variables behind Klout score are intentionally hidden to avoid “gaming” the system, one downside is that the lack of visibility makes it hard to understand what’s driving your Klout score – or how to increase it.

Twitalyzer, on the other hand, provides transparency into all their calculated metrics. For any compound metric, a user knows exactly what is going into this score. For example, “Impact” is based on number of followers, mentions, retweets and post frequency. What’s more, Twitalyzer provides users with data-driven recommendations for how to increase their scores.

Other Twitalyzer measures include number of followers, number of lists you are on, number of mentions or retweets, plus calculations of both potential and effective reach: how far your tweet may reach within the network. Twitalyzer also offers users the option to tailor their report to see only metrics of interest to them, as well the ability to set goals. Other benefits include a visual network map to explore your connections, a comparison tool to compare your scores to other Twitter users and customizable sentiment analysis.

So why would you measure your impact within Twitter or Facebook? Social media is more than just a broadcast network – engagement matters. By measuring more than just fans or followers, you can begin measuring your success in engaging with consumers.

Search or Hashtag Analysis

Tools like The Archivist and Twapper Keeper allow you to build an archive of a particular search or hashtag. The Archivist even provides you a dashboard view of top contributors to a hashtag, tweet volume by day and top words used. However some tools (Twapper Keeper and Tweetake) will actually allow you to export full Twitter content, for offline analysis in Excel, SPSS, SAS or any other data analysis or exploration solution. This offline analysis allows for rich time/date and textual analysis of Twitter conversions.

These types of analyses can tell you what time of day a community tends to tweet, and allow off-line, more robust sentiment analysis. These insights allow for tailored posting schedule and contents, to best suit the audience.

Measuring social media back to your website

Measuring your social engagement within the network is a great start. But if your social efforts don’t result in traffic, sales or leads, it’s hardly a justifiable effort.

The easiest way is to leverage the analytics that your URL shortener provides. When social media links are posted, they are typically shortened (to save characters) through services such as These services provide data about how many clicks you received to each link. However, that’s where it ends. A click tells you only that: that the visitor clicked the link. It doesn’t tell you what they did after that. Did they close the browser window before it even loaded your site? Did they see one page of your site then leave? Or did they actually engage with your content, and perhaps funnel through into an online sale?

That’s where campaign tracking comes in. Using the same methods of campaign tracking used for other online initiatives, you can track your social media behavior back to your website.

Each web analytics tool does campaign tracking a little differently, so it’s worth touching base with your marketing or web analytics team to see how to set this up for your solution. For Google Analytics, campaign tracking involves appending campaign variables, in a specific format, at the end of the URL for Google Analytics to read. (Note of course that this is only an option when your social post contains a link.)

Without campaign tracking, you might post a Tweet and link back to:

Campaign tracking would involve adding variables at the end of the URL:

source=twitter  tells you the source of the traffic. In this case, this link was posted to Twitter.

medium=social  tells you that this was a social media post (vs perhaps an online media or PPC link.) Think of this as representing the “channel”.

content=nutrition  tells us that we’ve categorized this post as a “nutrition” related. Content allows you to group “types” of posts. (For example, quizzes vs nutrition vs recipes.)

campaign=freedietbook gives you a short description of what the post was. It should be short, but enough for you to recall the post.

To create these campaign codes, you simply use Google’s campaign tracking code generator. Based on your inputs, it will auto-generate the URL with campaign tracking. This new URL is then fed into your or other URL shortener, and carries through campaign information into your web analytics solution.

So why do you need this?

This campaign tracking will allow you to compare different mediums (for example, Twitter vs Facebook) and the quality of traffic they drive. By categorizing posts into different “content” groups, you can analyze how different types of posts drive traffic and behavior, and even look at how visitors driven from one particular post behave. This includes looking at whether these visitors leave your site, stay and engage, how many page views they see, how much time they spend, and whether they convert into a lead or a sale.

This information can help to optimize future posts. For example, if recipe posts convert well into sales of a book, a business may focus on more of these posts. You can even compare multiple of elements: for example, do recipe posts perform better on Twitter or Facebook? Add in day of the week and time analysis, and you have a rich analytics opportunity to provide insights for future posts.

Campaign tracking even allows for calculation and optimization of ROI. If you know the time that is spent on social media efforts, and the actual sales driven by traffic through those posts, you can calculate that return on investment.

Understanding social media in the context of other initiatives

So by now you’re measuring your impact and engagement within the Facebook or Twitter community, as well as the behavior of social media traffic back to your website. However, couldn’t social media have an impact even without someone engaging with your brand or visiting your website?

Coupons are a clear way of tracking a social media promotion back to sales, as a specific coupon code can be used to distinguish between different channels.

Loyalty cards may be leveraged, if you can entice consumers to couple their loyalty card with their social media identity.

Another approach is to simply ask. Customer surveys can help here. The “Where did you hear about us” may help tie at least a portion of your offline sales to social media, though there will likely remain a segments of customers who choose not to answer, or who don’t necessarily recall when or why they first decided to purchase your product.

You may also analyze the correlation between social media efforts and sales to tell you directionally whether your efforts are working.

Finally, don’t forget that it can often be a culmination of different initiatives that result in a visit to your site, or a customer walking into your store. A customer may engage with your brand through social media, then later visit your site through a paid search link to research a product, and ultimately purchase offline. Television, radio, print or banner ads may be further mixed into this, requiring some pretty serious multi-channel analytics efforts.

Get Started

The next step in social media is to move from simply getting involved to measurement. While social is a new channel, it is not so uniquely different that we can’t leverage learnings and best practices from other channels to help us understand its impact. Leveraging social media analytics tools, campaign tracking, and multi-channel efforts can help you understand the impact of your social media efforts.

Twitter Analytics: Presentation from Social Media Masters

For anyone who is interested, my presentation from Social Media Masters is available for viewing on Slideshare:

Twitter Analytics: Michele Hinojosa, Red Door InteractiveTopics include: Twitter research for competitive intelligence, hashtag and network analysis, download, export and backup tools, Twitter account measurement using Twitalyzer and Klout and tracking Twitter links back to your website. Originally presented at Social Media Masters Twitter workshop in San Diego (2/11/2011)

These are a few of my favourite things (about Twitalyzer)

For those of you who don’t know, Twitalyzer is one of my favourite Twitter measurement tools. Why? Well for one, they let you see the math. As someone in the digital measurement industry, I find it hard to put a lot of faith in a “secret sauce” approach to measurement. (“Just trust us, this is your score.” No thanks.)

I have been using Twitalyzer for months now, first through a free option, and now through a paid subscription. Why did I pay? Because it’s worth it. (And FYI, the individual subscription is cheaper than a cocktail. That was a very easy sell for me.)

So (Von Trapp style) … here are a few of my favourite things.

1. Customisable metrics report

Over the months, the number of metrics included in Twitalyzer reports has grown. Great, but for me, it’s approaches a “TMI” level. Therefore, I love that I can actually customise not only what order different metrics appear, but also whether they appear at all. If I decide something doesn’t help me manage my little corner of the Twitterverse, I can choose to hide it, and simplify the metrics report. To me, this is especially useful in simplifying the world of social media to those who may be newer. Choose the key metrics you need them to see, and perhaps add to those over time.

Now, to be honest, I’m looking forward to evolution of how you customise the metrics report (currently it’s a little more cumbersome than I’m sure it will be in the future) but the customisability alone wins big points with me. (FYI, it also transfers across accounts – so if you have a number of Twitter usernames connected to your Twitalyzer accounts, you don’t have to repeat the process every time.)

So what do I care about?

I’m still playing around with this, but here’s what I am currently showing on my Twitalyzer metrics report:

Impact: My impact is defined by how many followers I have, how many references there are to me, the frequency at which I’m uniquely retweeted and retweet others, and the frequency at which I post. (I call this one the Twitalyzer Ubermetric.) 

Engagement: The ratio at which people reference me vs. those I reference.

Influence: Is the likelihood that a Twitter user will either retweet or reference me.

Retweeted: How often I am retweeted. I find this useful to help me understand what content of mine my network feels is worth sharing.

Signal: Whether my tweets contain a link, mentions or retweets another user or include a hashtag. Aka a way to measure how many of my tweets are of the “Ohhhh, my cat is so cute!” or “Yum, I just had pancakes” variety vs. something actually interesting. I’m sure in some networks, depending on your contacts, low signal isn’t a big deal. But I’m conscious of not shoving too much “status” type stuff out there. (I figure general “here’s what I’m up to” is what Facebook is for.)

Generosity: The percentage of time that I retweet others.

Clout: The likelihood that I’ll appear when searched for in Twitter. I won’t lie – this one still makes me go “Hmmm …”

Followers: Number of followers I have.

Lists: Number of lists I’m on. Often it’s a good idea to look at what the lists are (e.g. I’m on some lists of “People who RT-ed me” … probably not one that the list creator even reads!) but it’s definitely a “nice to watch.”

Velocity: The frequency at which I post.

Referenced: The number of times I’ve been mentioned on Twitter.

Potential Reach: The number of followers I have + the number of followers those who retweet me have. This attempts to estimate how far a tweet I send can be viewed.

Effective Reach: Takes my retweeting followers x my influence (the likelihood that I’ll be retweeted.) This attempts a more realistic estimate of how far a tweet I send could go.

Klout Score: Comes in through Klout. (The “secret sauce” tool.)

So why do I care about these metrics, and why don’t I care about others?

My reasons for Tweeting in the first place, and for tweeting about the topics I do, are fairly simple: to learn via reading what others post, to contribute to the discussion, and to build relationships in the community.

Measuring my signal ensures that I’m not posting junk that might alienate my Twitter contacts. (Sure, my cats are cute, but I’m pretty sure nobody cares.) Monitoring retweets, followers and lists is a good indication of whether what I’m posting is considered of any value by my contacts. Monitoring references to and by me, and my retweets of others, is a good indicator of whether I’m engaged with the community.

Basically, I’m choosing to focus on the things that relate to my goals in using Twitter, and as such I’ve currently hidden some metrics in Twitalyzer.

2. Percentile

This is a small one, but when I first started using Twitalyzer, you could only see “Percentile” by clicking into a metric. Now they have incorporated it on the metrics view, visible at all times. I love this! The percentile basically tells me that my score is the same or better than X% of the Twitter users tracked by Twitalyzer. This can be helpful when you realise that a Impact score might seem low, yet still be in a fairly high percentile. (Aka it makes me feel better…!)

A nice future add-on would be a tailored percentile, based on a subset of Twitter (perhaps those you follow, or a list you’ve created.)

3. Goals

Data in a vacuum is meaningless. Twitalyzer lets me set goals for individual metrics, to ensure that I’m actually measuring something in context.

4. Comparisons

I love the ability to compare myself to other Twitter users on a variety of metrics. To me, this is another way to benchmark myself, and perhaps even help to set my goals. (What’s feasible? Well, what is X’s score? Okay, I’ll aim for something similar.)

However, I’d definitely love to see a future ability to pre-create a number of comparisons, rather than doing this individually each time I log in.

5. Recommendations

It’s pretty standard for a tool to tell you how you measure up. It’s less common for one to tell you how to go about moving the needle. Twitalyzer will actually give you recommendations of what is more and less important for you to do to positively affect your impact scores.

6. Network Explorer

Now, to me this is more informative than necessarily something you’re benchmarking against, but it’s still super cool. Basically the Network Explorer is a visual map of the people and topics you are connected to. (Because who doesn’t like to play Six Degrees of Awesome #Measure Folks?)

7. It’s about the community

So you follow these people on Twitter, or they follow you. So what?

Twitalyzer can help you understand:

  • When your network is online (e.g. time of day, day of week) and where they are located. (I definitely think there are some improvements that could be made in the presentation of regional information, but that’s an aside.)
  • This can be very helpful information if you’re trying to decide when the optimal times to post, say, a blog post are.
  • Who the most influential members of your network are, who your most influential “friends” are (based on your communication with some members of your network more than others), and who appears to to influence you.

Network Activity (Time of Day):

8. It’s about me

Curious about what dates or time of day you tweet? Are mentioned? Retweeted? Never fear, Twitalyzer is here:

But what about the content? What hashtags do you use? What communities and discussions do you tend to be a part of? What of your content has been retweeted lately? Which of your links were clicked? You can find all of that out.

There’s even the beginnings of sentiment analysis. Now, sentiment analysis is a toughie. (Especially if you have folks in your network who are, shall we say, sarcastic? Noooooo….) The reality is that there aren’t many great sentiment analysis solutions out there that don’t involve human assessment of sentiment. So to be honest, I tend to view all sentiment analysis (included Twitalyzer’s) as interesting, but not necessarily something to hang my hat on. That said, I do like the ability to play around with what words you consider to be negative and positive:

9. Integration with Google Analytics

I’m also looking forward to jumping more into the integration with Google Analytics – but that might turn out to be a topic for another time (entirely of itself.)

10. Export options

The ability to export data does not go unnoticed!

Last but not least … (definitely not least!)

11. Customer service

I’m not kidding you. Even before I was a paying customer, Jeff Katz at Twitalyzer was always enormously helpful, and though I’m a now only a meager paying customer (with my little individual account) he still goes above and beyond to help solve problems. He rocks.

And as a little FYI, if there’s something you can’t get working right in Twitalyer, take a hop over to Firefox or (shudder) IE. I’ve had very few issues using Twitalyzer in Chrome, but the rare issue I’ve had has been browser related. (Which I discovered because the aforementioned lovely gentleman Jeff Katz helped me out.)

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Are you an expert?

Guru. Ninja. Rockstar. Expert. These descriptions are all over the place. (*cough* Twitter bios *cough cough*)

Done learning. This is what I hear.

Here’s the deal. Calling yourself an expert sounds like you think you’ve got nothing left to learn. How can you be an expert in web analytics, or social media? These fields have been around for all of about forty-five seconds. (And they’ve changed twenty-seven times since then!)

My $0.015:  Don’t ever call yourself an expert, a guru, a rockstar. (And don’t just replace it with samurai or swami. You get my point.) Someone else may call you that, but let’s be honest, even then you should shrug it off.

The most appealing trait is a desire to learn, improve, to continue honing your skills. Focus on that. Let your work and development prove yourself. Not a self-appointed noun.

Suspicious Facebook login requirement

Has anyone ever seen this requirement upon trying to log in to their Facebook account?

Facebook message

The message:

Confirm Your Identity

To continue, we need you to provide your mobile phone number. This quick security check helps keep Facebook a community of real people who connect and share using their real identities. If you ever lose your password, you’ll also be able to use your mobile number to access your account.

Confirm your identity by adding a mobile number to your account

Add your phone [Link]

Now, is it just me or is this fishy?

1. As far as I recall, I haven’t given Facebook my mobile number. So they’re not asking for it to validate against their records. (And if they were, wouldn’t they make that clear?)

2. As far as I know, there’s nothing that prompted this. I haven’t changed my email address, my name, or used my account unusually. If they are doing this “for my protection” (i.e. if my account has been hacked) they certainly aren’t being upfront about that.

3. They have literally locked out my account until I provide this information. I can’t get past this screen, nor can I access via any mobile access. (In fact, on a mobile site, it tells me my account is locked and that I must visit the site on a computer.)

Anyone have any insight into this rather suspect development?

What I expect from companies in social media

I don’t think I can even count the number of articles I’ve read about social media/PR disasters, why your company needs a social media presence and strategy, why you need a retina chip to ensure you’re monitoring social media at all times. (Okay I’m exaggerating with the last one – but probably not for long.)

From You Tube videos of snotty Dominos pizza, to a (hilarious) cartoon by a Best Buy employee, to Air Canada’s PR nightmare after damaging to a disabled child’s wheelchair, there is a long list of companies who have been burned by social media.

I’m not going to provide a 10-point list of why your company needs to monitor social media, nor an analysis of the stages of social media development in an organisation. My point is much simpler than that. Your company needs to be present, monitor and respond to social media because there is a growing group of consumers who expect it.

Fifty years ago, most customer complaints likely came by mail. Then came the need for phone support. Then email and live chat. Now social media. Today, companies are no longer responding to private emails/calls/complaints between the company and the consumer. They are responding to very public reviews of performance failures, which are not only heard by the followers of the aggrieved party, but spread out to others, and often quickly picked up by news outlets. Your failures are out there in the open and you need to monitor and respond.

Take myself as an example. I have no intention of bad mouthing companies on Twitter or Facebook for fun. However, I will post honest comments of my frustrations, and likewise where I am pleased with a company’s product or service. For example:

@michelehinojosa: “Staying with AT&T for the iPhone 4 makes me feel equal parts nervous and duped.” (Thu 6/17/10)

@michelehinojosa: “@i4harold  I’m a current #iPhone user, switching to #Android in August (because I get terrible service from #ATT!)” (Thu 7/8/10)

@michelehinojosa: “@EndressAnalytic Ahh. Unfortunately I’m a current AT&T (iPhone) customer and wouldn’t touch AT&T again with a 100 foot pole. Hello, Verizon.” (Wed 6/30/10)

@michelehinojosa: “Literally LOL’ed!   RT @journik: CEO of AT&T got married recently. The wedding was great but the reception was terrible.” (Thu 6/24/10)

@michelehinojosa: “Trying Toodledo task manager. Website & iPhone app sync, and a 3rd party app syncs with Outlook. So far so good! (@jrushin @rightonbro)” (Mon, 5/24/10) But then … @michelehinojosa: “Until Outlook stopped working … ” (Mon 5/24/10)

@michelehinojosa: “Wait, what happened to Verizon ‘having plenty of stock of Droid X’? Yeah right …” (Fri, 7/23)

Don’t get me wrong though. I have good things to say too!

@michelehinojosa: “Flying @VirginAmerica. Wi-fi is the bomb!” (Fri, 7/2/10)

@michelehinojosa: “Impressed so far with Verizon 3G internet speed. Web pages loading much faster than on AT&T.” (Sat 7/31/10)

@michelehinojosa: “Long Beach airport is odd, like it’s still the 60’s. And yet … FREE WIFI!” (Wed, 7/21/10)

The above are a few examples only. What you’ll notice is that I say a lot about AT&T, due to very poor experiences I had with them over four years. Yet never once did I receive any comment or contact, much was I was critiqueing them in a very public forum.

Other companies (Long Beach airport, for one!) tweeted me back some kind of response – in the case of Long Beach airport, a very positive one and a thank you for the mention. Some companies (Omniture, for one) even actively have customer service on Twitter attending to client questions and concerns. (For the record, Omniture’s Twitter support is fantastic.)

There is no debate here. Your company needs to be monitoring and responding to social media. Customers like myself expect it. And while I’m sure we are not 100% of your customer base, we are growing quickly.

Would you leave a spill on the floor in your store, and later deal with the ramifications of a customer slip and fall? No. Apply the same approach to social media. It is so easy for your reputation to be damaged, and so much harder to repair than to protect it in the first place.